34 Comments

  1. This is not a play on words of any kind. You just have to remember that Ms. Foxx’s name was previously given in the strip for January 22, 2011, and it’s Taffy Meredith Heidi-Anne Foxx.

  2. The Kingston Trio performance of “The Tattooed Lady” — distinct from “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” by Harburg & Arlen and performed by the Marx Brothers — and distinct from a couple other unrelated songs with that title — does seem to be related to a traditional version known in Australia, and then via another step or two, from the melody line of Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ta-ra-ra_Boom-de-ay

  3. “. . . January 22, 2011, and it’s Taffy Meredith Heidi-Anne Foxx.”

    Hadn’t begun reading the strip then. Thanks for the info; this is more fun than just waiting ’til someone to give an answer in the comics’ own comments/blogs. For example, the Kingston Trio song . . . a delight.

  4. So, in order to fully appreciate this strip, I have to remember a reference from January 22, 2011? That’s expecting more of me than is reasonable.

    I thought perhaps it was “Tally-Ho”.

  5. zbicyclist, I thought it might be “Tawny Foxx”, thinking that “tawny fox” may be a type of fox. It is not. However, I did find out that a Tawny Fox is a lady who allows herself to be photographed in skimpy underwear (or maybe less, but I stopped looked).

  6. We were just discussing the amount of work relative to the quality of the joke, esp. in B & C. For me, this would’ve been too much ‘work’, as I’d no idea how to even look it up (yes, I know – wait for an explanation in the comments/blog, but I like to find things out for myself, as I could’ve done with the ‘shirtwaist fire’ referenced earlier). And it wasn’t even funny, anyway.

  7. Not sure if this will avoid moderation. The old SCTV sketch show had a reporter (played by Andrea Martin) whose name was Tawny Beaver. The anchors would pronounce it as spelled. She would correct them to say, “That’s Bee-Vay”. Oh those Canadians.

  8. There’s a good magazine about Canadian history that used to be called The Beaver. There was some spirited debate about it, but, in the end, the name ended up getting changed. It is now “Canada’s History” magazine. Rather prosaic. They hung on for a very long time, but in the Internet age, “The Beaver” was a liability when school’s want to send students to the the website to read stuff for assignments. https://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/how-the-beaver-lost-its-name/

  9. I don’t see that you have to remember that previous strip for this one to work. Actually, I don’t even see how remembering the previous strip particularly helps. The joke (such as it is) is that she really doesn’t want people to know her full name. It’s not that funny, but it’s not made more funny by knowing exactly what that name is.

  10. There’s also the principle of “Wait and see what tomorrow brings”. Maybe the answer will be made evident from a later strip, not requiring going back to a years-earlier one?

  11. Were we supposed to think Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay originated in English Music halls? I always assumed it was bastardized mishearing of “La donna è mobile” from Rigoletto.

    You don’t have to remember the reference to 2011 but if you don’t you might mistakenly assume the joke is that we are supposed to fill in a funny word beginning with “Ta–” to go with Fox…. which would be an annoying waste of time because there probably isn’t any and that *wasn’t* supposed to be the joke at all.

  12. @SingaporeBill
    ” I did find out that a Tawny Fox is a lady who allows herself to be photographed in skimpy underwear (or maybe less, but I stopped look[ing]).”

    So, you only read the internet for the articles? I never believed that disclaimor for PLAYBOY either….

  13. Shrug, she was not my type. Surgically-enhanced bleach blonde. I had no motivation to look further.

  14. “Actually, I don’t even see how remembering the previous strip particularly helps.”

    It wasn’t MEANT to help; just conversation about the obscurity as mentioned previously. Read my comment again.

  15. Andréa: I can read your comment again if you really want me to, but I was responding to zbicyclist 😉

    (Not that there’s any way you’d be able to tell who I was responding to.)

  16. w00zy emerged from moderation to say: Were we supposed to think Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay originated in English Music halls? I always assumed it was bastardized mishearing of “La donna è mobile” from Rigoletto.

    Judge for yourselves with this clip from East Village Opera Company – La Donna È Mobile Redux.

  17. “. . . you might mistakenly assume the joke is that we are supposed to fill in a funny word beginning with “Ta–” to go with Fox . . .”

    Which is EXACTLY what I did. Now THERE’S 30 seconds of my life I’ll never get back.

  18. All “Ta-ra-ra-boom-etc.” does is remind me of Yacky Doodle, a talking Hanna-Barbera duckling who considers that “opera.”

  19. “. . . distinct from “Lydia the Tattooed Lady” by Harburg & Arlen and performed by the Marx Brothers . . .”

    So I began re-reading ‘The Last Continent’ this morning, and what to my wond’rin’ eyes did appear (on page 15) but the phrase, “. . . trying to teach Hex to sing ‘Lydia the Tattooed Lady’, exulting at getting a machine to do after six hours’ work something that any human off the street would do for tuppence, . .”.

  20. Supposedly there is an extra verse to one of the “Tattooed Lady” songs, in which the lady has all the cities of the world tattooed here and there and for an extra fee will show you where you were born.

  21. So, um, is Duane’s name actually Butkis or did someone grafitti it up? And if his name is actually Butkis don’t the readers no that.. Are we supposed to believe Duane who has had this name his entire life is not a aware of its implications?

  22. @ w00zy – That really is his last name, but he already was an adult when he got it (when the strip was created in 2010), so he’s only had ten years to dwell on it so far. Besides, he already had those personality characteristics at the time.

  23. Kilby, maybe he only has the name at all because Barney ordered him to change it.

    It makes sense in a way: why bother to learn your underling’s name when you can just order each subsequent one to change his to Butkis?

  24. A few months ago, I watched a series of videos on the ‘downstairs’ staffs of the English before [and somewhat after] WWI; few of them were able to use their own names, as their ‘masters’ and ‘mistresses’ just called each by whatever name they [the masters/mistresses] wished to do. I s’pose when you have dozens, if not hundreds, of servants, why bother learning each one’s name.

  25. @Andrea: my great grandfather (never knew him, my aunt told us the story) had hired a new maid and since she had the same first name as his wife, he gave the new maid a new name: ‘from now on, you’ll be called Germaine’. ‘Yes, Sir’, answered she.

  26. JUST IN CASE anyone is interested in the video, Servants: The True Story of Life Below Stairs. here is Part 1 of 3 – Knowing Your Place . . . the other two parts will follow, I believe [well, they do for me] . . .

    I found it fascinating, but then, I read a lot of books either about England, or set in England, and have been watching several British mystery videos (Frost, Midsomer Murders, Endeavour, Poirot, et al, as well as Upstairs Downstairs and The [original] Forsyte Sage); I certainly see the women servants differently after having watched the ‘true story’.

    The mother of a friend in England was a maid; she has had some interesting stories told to her by her Mum.

  27. Back in the day, Irish-American housemaids were generally called Bridget, regardless of what their actual names were.

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